Don't Let the Cold Weather Freeze You Over!
Adhesive Capsulitis (AKA "Frozen Shoulder") is a shoulder complication that affects people everyday. Here are some facts about this common injury:
- Adhesive capsulitis is also known as Frozen Shoulder.
- Typically there is a gradual onset of pain and loss of motion of the shoulder; often with pain around the deltoid region. It is painful to sleep on the affected side, and there is often difficulty with dressing, combing hair, putting hands in back pockets, and hooking bras.
- The cause is often unknown. It is felt to be a chronic inflammation of the shoulder capsule causing thickening and adherence of the capsule to itself and the bony structures of the shoulder.
- This injury can be a secondary issue related to other shoulder issues such as a rotator cuff tear or arthritis.
- It is most often seen in 40-60 year old age group, although it can occur at any age.
- It is more common in females.
- It is more common in the sedentary population than a manual laborer.
- It is more often seen in patients with diabetes.
- Imaging may consist of x-ray, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or ultrasound (to evaluate the rotator cuff muscles and other structures).
- Natural history: Usually 'freezes' over several months, remains stiff/frozen for a period of time and 'thaws' over a couple of years.
- o Anti-inflammatories - short term
- o Physical therapy - focused on range of motion
- o Cortisone (steroid) injections
- o Hydrodilation - injection with volume to break up adhesions
- o Surgery
Written by John Tobey, M.D.